Caitlyn Lattimore, the heroine of Sophia Singh Sasson’s Boyfriend Lessons, is rich and gorgeous but socially awkward. She asks a friend of a friend, Dev Malik, to give her the lessons of the title to help her learn to date – but clearly, the two of them are going to fall in love. This book suffers from a plot that isn’t engaging, writing that’s repetitive, and a bland setting made worse by the time wasted mentioning an overarching series plot that has nothing to do with these characters.
The writing is repetitive: I have many notes reading ‘We know this already’, ‘Yes, you said that’, and ‘I know, I was there’. At one point, Caitlyn gasps twice within three sentences. The hero has several ick moments. I’m not okay with heroes who marvel that the heroine is somehow unlike every other woman they’ve ever met (gee, thanks for slandering my gender). The relationship is rushed. When the heroine points out in their Big Separation argument that “we’ve known each other for two weeks,” my reaction was less ‘Oh, how tragic that they will be separate!’ and more ‘Hm, yeah, valid point.’
This book is part of the Harlequin Desire series Texas Cattleman’s Club: Ranchers and Rivals, and boy, does it suffer for that. We have to sit through an infodump about some sort of inheritance problem that only marginally affects our protagonists, then we run into people we probably met but can’t remember because they don’t matter to this plot, then we have to listen to inheritance stuff again = but none of this will be resolved because this is only book two.
While the prose absolutely holds the book back, I can see why our previous reviewer enjoyed another one of the author’s books much more. Her depictions of elite Texas life are generic, but we get brief sparks of something much more interesting when she develops Dev’s Indian family. Dev’s mother is flat-out racist against Caitlyn (who is biracial, with one white and one black parent), and I so appreciate the author’s willingness to be honest about a genuine problem in her own community. I loved the depiction of how his businesswoman sister Maya struggled when she gave up her professional ambitions to be a stay-at-home parent. Maya’s husband throws a tantrum while she steps into the business of her birth family (which Dev is trying to escape) because he wants her back home. Maya and Dev’s father throws her under the bus with lines like “Once married, a woman’s priority is the family she married into.” This is good, conflicted stuff, with controversial characters – so much richer than Caitlyn’s quest, which is ‘I’m rich enough to set up a horseback riding program for foster kids, but I don’t know where to do it.’ Why isn’t this Dev’s sister’s book?
Would I read the author again? Well, I don’t love her writing style, but I would consider following her into a setting where she is more of an expert. I just hope she does more of those and fewer of these.
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I'm a history geek and educator, and I've lived in five different countries in North America, Asia, and Europe. In addition to the usual subgenres, I'm partial to YA, Sci-fi/Fantasy, and graphic novels. I love to cook.